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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


leg·a·cy (lěg'ə-sē) Pronunciation Key
n. pl. leg·a·cies
  1. Money or property bequeathed to another by will.
  2. Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past: a legacy of religious freedom.
I said I would continue this discussion on bullshit. Since I began discussing Pumpkinhead's pimping of his own father for financial gain while shytting on everything his father taught him, that led me to thinking about the legacies our parents or our leaders leave us, and our responsibility to do those legacies proud. So, I write with the second definition of legacy in mind.

It is bothersome when those who had fathers or mothers in positions of power believe they are entitled to succeed them when they retire or die out of their position because they are biologically related; for some strange reason, as a means to distinguish themselves from their parent, the child inheriting his parent's legacy means that he/she has a license to ill and shit on what their parent stood for.

You may want some examples. Look no further than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s children. Out of the four of them, ironicially the oldest, Yolanda, was the only one who seemed to have full understanding of the legacy her father left with his activism, and fully embraced that. She spent her life living out his legacy, and never displayed a need to crap on it like used newspaper. Her baby sister, Bernice, on the other hand, plays at the legacy, but compromises it when it's convenient for her to do so (i. e. lead protest marches against civil unions, while her mother is leading protest marches in support of civil unions because that's what Martin would have wanted.) Martin III has tried to embrace his father's legacy, but it appears that Dexter has all but run away from it. But at least they haven't attempted to crap on it as Bernice has, especially under the unction and mentoring of snake-oil Bishop Eddie Long out of the ATL. They uninvited Harry Belafonte from Coretta's funeral, because Shrub was attending and Harry had already gotten into his grill.

Belafonte paid for their father's funeral back in 1968 and supported them until Coretta got things together to support her family and her husband's legacy. But Bernice crapped on her father's legacy when she dissed Belafonte, one of her father's closest friends and still, at 80, a stauch fighter in the battle for civil and human rights.

Get the picture? Maybe not, so I'll give you a few more.

Let's take the Man-Who-Wanted-To-Be-Senator, but he wasn't "white" enough for the "devils" in East Memphis. I took the liberty to peruse the voting legacy of Senior while first doing research for CBC Monitor's report cards. The difference between him and his son were such that one wonders if Junior wasn't just found on Senior's doorstep, having been left there by wolves. Again, he shat on his father's legacy as a congressman, because he was so ashamed of his father, and the family who gave him that name he consistently cashed in on when convenient, he tried to check out of the African-American race and voted the straight ReThug ticket in a way that made GeeShrubya proud.

All for personal gain. No wonder he's still referred to in DC as the "Ho".

Which leads me to GeeShrubya. While Poppy can brag he was President and Chief Spook in the CIA back in the 1960s, Shrubya can brag that he literally sent this country to hell in a handbasket and is still going at it. I won't go into all of his craptacular screw-ups, but he can at least brag he had the job four years longer than Dear Old Dad, and really established the Bush legacy as that of being spectacularly f-wads.

Some Congresscritters are in Congress as parts of legacies, too. Except, when you point to Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), at least he's not crapping on the legacy left by his uncles and now, his father. So, if he could get it right on the legacy thing, what happened to the others like Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO), or Kendrick Meek (D-FL), whose parents were progressives during their terms in office, only to hand it over to their sons who consistently flirt with the DLC, and engage in bullshit like this?

If a Congresscritter's kid gets the job after his parent has stepped down, maybe we won't be so disappointed to expect the kid to be like the parent, and honor the legacy they left, when they get caught up in the "bling"of being an elected official and foolishly determine they should not be like their parents, even if their parents were right in their decisions and performance as elected officials. Their attempts to distinguish themselves from their parents indicates they're ashamed of what their parent stood for, and they intend to play with triangulation, circular firing squads, getting paid and selling out for personal gain while screwing over the people who elected them, in an attempt to not be like their parent, but their own person.

Some of them need to emulate their parent, because being their own person has them so full of bullshit that they feed to us and tell us it's filet mignon.

Bush is worrying about his legacy as President right now. Needless to say, I wish someone would spare him the suspense and tell him that not only he gets rated as Worst.President.Ever., but also, Worst-American-Whoever-Lived-in-This-Country status.

And you see the legacies of Mike Wallace get shat on by his weasel of a son schilling for Fox Noise, not to mention the legacies of Cronkite, Rather, Brinkley and maybe Brokaw get trashed by those more fond of their Beltway Cocktail Weenies and parties, than dedicated to do their jobs and report actual news. You don't have to be biologically related to those who created the legacies. But if you're going to follow in their footsteps, you damn well have an obligation to do no harm to the legacy and/or profession they left behind. The willingness to demonstrate partisan postering in media reporting rather than be objective journalists is a warning to us all that not only facism will come wrapped in the American flag and carrying a cross, but will use the media to advance an agenda all of us didn't sign on for. I remember when Cronkite and Rather reported the news; it didn't matter what political affiliation they had. Many journalists didn't even register to vote for fear of impacting their objectiveness in their professions; they were that dedicated to the ethics of journalism and the public's right to know what the hell is going on and being done in their name.

Timmeh, Hannity and O'Reilly missed that class in J-school, I guess.

Finally, there's the legacy that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi inherited. The seat she holds in San Francisco came from a rich history of progressive politics, first being held by the late Phillip Burton, and upon his death, his widow, Sala Burton held the seat until her death in 1986. Pelosi was part of the circle that got both of them elected, and they set the foundation for her to get that seat in the '86 election upon Sala's death. Until Nancy got those leadership positions, she led the way on progressivism and progressive issues. Now that she's House Speaker, she negotiated the compromise that stripped out the timeframes for pullout in Iraq, and then insults us by saying she's not going to vote for a bill that she helped negotiate.

The whole Democratic Caucus basically told us to go Cheney ourselves - well, maybe we need to think about giving Pelosi, Rahm Emmanuel, Steiny Hoyer and Chuck Schumer timelines for doing what we elected them to do or else they get deployed elsewhere.

Like off Capitol Hill and sent home in 2008.

Pelosi's disingeniousness reminds me of Lieberman voting for cloture on Sam Alito's confirmation to the Bench, but not voting to confirm Alito to the Supreme Court. The real issue was voting on the procedure that would have kept Alito from coming up for a confirmation vote; just like the real issue with Pelosi was to keep sending Bush that Iraq funding bill as it was, without any changes and let him keep vetoing it - not to vote against the bill, itself.

Ah, legacies. Maybe those who leave them, need to consider who they are entrusting them with, because rather than uphold them, they allow them to disintergrate into bullshit.


Yes, I'm back, and yes, you read the title correctly.

I've been mulling this around in my pea-sized brain for the last few weeks, wondering if I should even write a blog post titled "On Bullshit". After all, I am the Christian Progressive Liberal, and as the late Jerry Falwell would have you know, us Christians aren't supposed to use words like "Bullshit".

But, then again, Jerry Falwell didn't have Burdett Stills as a father. If he had, he wouldn't have spent so much time hating on anyone who was not white.

My father taught me how to use my bullshit detector very early in life. How about at the age of five years old, and on a trip to catch crabs in the San Jacinto Bay in Houston, Texas? Our family had gone, "crabbing" as it was referred to in those days. After filling up a shiny new garbage pail full of the soon to be tasty critters, my father calls me over to look inside the pail.

"What do you see, pumpkin?" he asked. "Lotsa crabs, Daddy!" I replied as only a five-year old could.

"What do you see the crabs doing, baby girl?" Dad asked. "Look at the blue one", he directed to me. "Keep your eye on 'im", he said.

So, I watch the blue crab try to climb out of the pail, amidst a sea of orange backed crabs. The blue crab almost made it to the top, until two giant orange claws hauled him back in. I looked up at my father, puzzled, as only a five year old could be. My father picked me up in his arms, and had me look across the river, and said to me "There will always be those in life who try to tear you down and pull you back in to their 'bullshit'. Always stay ahead of them, and don't let them do that to you. You always remember that, and you will go far, baby girl."

My mother, who watched the whole thing, said to my dad, "Burdett, she's only five years old. She can't understand what you said, and she certainly won't remember it."

"Not Leutisha", my dad said. "She's the one born with a veil over her face. She'll remember that when she makes us proud, doing what she's born to do, and not letting anyone tell her she can't because of the color of her skin."

And guess what? Some thirty five years later, as you can read, I remembered every bit of that wisdom, that lesson in "Bullshitology" that my father taught me. So, what does that have to do with the story?

It has to do with when someone remembers what wisdom and values that were imparted on them by their parents, and how we're expected not to forget them. So, when I was reading this drivel (below) by Tim "Beat The Press" Russert, and thought about how he literally pimped his father, Big Russ, for financial gain, and to further butter up his inside-Beltway stature; I couldn't help but wonder if Big Russ was ashamed that Little Russ sold out everything he taught him in exchange for the accolades of those who couldn't give a rat's ass about him as a human being, not to mention said financial gain.

“Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

--John F. Kennedy
January 20, 1961

I was ten years old when I heard those words. They still resonate with me nearly a half century later. Am I doing God’s work? Is being a journalist my vocation? How does my faith influence my judgment as a reporter? Should it? Are the demands of my chosen profession leaving enough time for my responsibilities as a son, brother, husband, father and friend?

St. Luke teaches us “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Am I hearing that admonition—and responding to it in a generous way? Do I have a true appreciation of the uniqueness and goodness of others? More questions than answers, I’m afraid.

One particular day provided some clarity. September 11, 2001. I don’t think the English language has yet found the words to describe the pain and anguish we felt that day. And yet we learned much about each other. The bravery of the first responders who went up the stairs of burning buildings. The heroic selfless souls on United flight #93. The patience of tens of thousands of drivers who left the devastated areas in an orderly way.

I have not honked my car horn since September 11 as a gesture of respect to all of them. 9/11 also gave me a whole new insight into my Dad and why he left school in the 10th grade to enlist after Pearl Harbor. I wrote a book affirming his life. It changed my life and my relationship with my father—and my son—forever. We now share openly the love and respect and pride we have in each other. A day doesn’t go by when other sons and daughters want to share stories of their dad with me. Now that’s a journey I never expected, but one which is so meaningful—perhaps even more important than my “career.”

Bottom line. I’m working hard, laughing often and praying with purpose. On with life!

I friggin' hate when someone wants to write books and pontificate in front of a microphone about how we should be living up to moral standards, values and beliefs, and they don't walk their own talk. Now, we don't know if Russert's cheated on his wife, or is on the DC Madam's list, but it appears that since Jerry Falwell died, the Reverend's death has forced Little Russ to remember some unsavory things he's done in his life as a journalist, like championing a war that has sent over 3000 Americans and over 600,000 Iraqis to their deaths for something a walking bucket of pus wanted to do and sell it to wingnuttia that Jesus told him to do it.

Or trying to defend Don Imus, known racist prick on the airwaves, but also looking like he wanted to choke the hell out of Gwen Ifill when she called him out on his hypocracy.

Or never, ever, giving Dick Cheney the well-deserved grilling we've been waiting for whenever that SOB is on "Meet The Press", but lobbies softball or spitball questions at him. But then again, how do you question someone who shot his friend in the face, made that friend apologize for "all the trouble he caused the VP" and literally got away with attempted murder?

I read Timmeh's column. It reminded me of my own father. And how he taught me to fire up the bullshit detector at 500 yards. And I also thought about the paragon of fathers being held up to most Americans by Timmeh - Big Russ, through those books he wrote.

Most of our fathers were no different than Big Russ. Hell, like Big Russ, my father lied about his age to enlist in WWII as well. He worked three jobs. He bought our first house with his GI bill. I remember Christmases, birthdays, when he sold scrap metal and hustled in a pool hall to make extra money, so his children had the best clothes, food on the table, and a little allowance when my brothers and I went to school. My father could probably buy and sell Big Russ every day of the week and twice on weekends.

You may not ever see anything written about Burdett Stills, Jr.; what a great father he was. But he was my father, and though not always perfect, he did the best he could with what he knew at the time he knew it. And I am the woman I am today because of what he taught me.

While Timmeh writes a book about similar experiences, and because he was a high-priced media whore verses being a real, Greg Palast-Jackson Baker-Chris Davis-Steve Gilliard type of journalist, he got fat paid for spouting the same accolades about his father that any of us could have about spouted about our own fathers. All the while, he literally shits on everything and every value Big Russ ever taught him, because his DC Masters were greater than his own humble father.

That's why I titled this piece "On Bullshit". That, and the fact that there's a book out with the same title. Plus, I think my father would be pleased because he always called people on their bullshit. He had a Ph.D in "Bullshitology".

Part II of "On Bullshit" will deal with the legacies left by our fathers, and whether or not we're entitled to said legacies. You know where I'm going with this, so stay tuned.

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